I have been thinking a lot about compassion these days. So much so that today I am leading my regular Alanon meeting, and I decided that "compassion" would be the perfect topic.
Most of my healing boils down to whether or not I am compassionate towards myself or others. Sometimes for us, it is easier to have compassion for others than ourselves, which this holds true for me too. Compassion leads me out of my impatient, judgmental, defensive, and resentful thoughts. I have experienced all of these intense emotions in verifying degrees towards others and myself many times. The result? Immense suffering. I haven't found one person who enjoys suffering.
One of my biggest lessons to date where I experienced inner peace was when I was able to have compassion towards my Mother. We all know that story from my spiritual memoir, Came to Believe - A Journey of Trust, Faith and Perseverance. But, since she came to live with me back in February when her partner passed, I have been tested beyond my wildest dreams. I have a sneaky suspicion that it has a lot to do with my Higher Power giving me more opportunities to practice compassion.
My mom has macular degeneration, which has caused significant vision impairment. She heavily relies on me to take care of a lot for her, which on a bad day for me causes me to feel impatient and resentful. As soon as I flip the switch inside of me from suffering to compassion, my heart softens and my body relaxes. It is that easy if I can recognize it. Gratitude fills my heart and I can appreciate the many blessings of her coming to live with me. Honestly, my daily gratitude lists haven't been this long in a while.
Compassion and kindness towards myself has been a harder lesson to learn. If I am not productive enough or when I am overweight, I am the most critical of myself. I seem to forget all that I have been through with my multiple foot surgeries. My chronic pain is debilitating daily. I push myself until I can't even stand on my two feet on some days. I am in so much pain that when I come home, I make bad food choices in big quantities. I am a sucker for candy and ice cream. And with all the pain, I feel I DESERVE it. Some pretty fucked up thinking? Well, my stinking thinking manifested into me gaining most of the weight I had lost back in 2009. This weight gain created more disgusting thoughts about myself. Then it clicked.
I asked myself, "if someone else was in my shoes, would I be as hard on them as I am on myself?"
The answer? A hard, "No! Of Course Not!" I decided to be kinder on myself, do less in one day, and join Weight Watchers to get my weight back on track. In three weeks, I have lost 7lbs, and I feel so much better about myself. I also treated myself to an electric scooter to ride to and from the train stop when I go to work. Less time on my feet means less pain at the end of the day. Plus, I am reducing my carbon footprint.
Think about the idea of compassion. Ask yourself if compassion is missing in the equation where, judgment, defensiveness, and resentment are present?
"The only beautiful thing which makes you human is compassion. Think about vengeance, lies, truth, God, greatness, think of anything, if you take compassion out of it, everything becomes bitter. Compassion is a value of life; it is power; it is God and meditation; it is truth. Compassion gives you the strength to go through suffering and yet, feel no pain. There is absolutely no grace without compassion."
If compassion is missing in your life, check out this Kundalini Kriya to increase Compassion.